heart

  1. Breathe easy with this ‘meat vitamin’

    Ah, autumn. It’s just a week away now… and that crisp fall air will sure feel refreshing after the sticky days of summer.

    And while those first colorful leaves may have already started to swirl through the air, there’s something else out there that you CAN’T see.

    And it’s just biding its time, waiting to weasel its way into your lungs, especially if you live anywhere that doesn’t rely on horse-drawn carriages traveling down dirt roads.

    I'm talking about tailpipe toxins.

    Cars and trucks spew tiny airborne particles (called "PM2.5") and toxic gases (including nitrogen dioxide, or "NO2") into the air.

    And according to a new study, breathing in even LOW levels of these toxins can up your chances of one of the deadliest conditions around: heart failure.

    Fortunately, you don’t need to seal yourself inside a human-sized bubble or hyperbaric chamber – because there’s an easy vitamin trick that can neutralize as much as three-quarters of the potential damage to your ticker.

    And it just may be the excuse you’re looking for to eat more meat.

    In the study, researchers in London found unusual changes in the structure of the hearts of folks who’d been exposed to PM2.5 and NO2.

    More specifically, the chambers (a.k.a. "ventricles") that pump blood through the heart were SWOLLEN.

    Not a whole lot, mind you -- but enough to mimic the kind of swelling that we usually only see in the early stages of heart failure.

    What's more, the higher their exposure to pollutants from cars and trucks, the more heart swelling they had.

    Now, the study didn't explain WHY their hearts had started to blow up like balloons -- but we know from previous studies that air pollution can wreak havoc inside your organs by ramping up inflammation and oxidative stress.

    And these particles are known for upping your risk of everything from lung troubles to Alzheimer's disease.

    That’s pretty bad, but here's the kicker: NONE of these folks were exposed to levels of air pollution that were higher than what the government deems "safe."

    That means that you don't have to live in Smog City to get socked in the heart by polluted air!

    In fact, even if you live out in the country or in the sprawl of suburbia, it's hard to escape these toxins entirely.

    You could invest in a quality air purifier with a HEPA filter, but you can’t take that with you wherever you go.

    What happens when you leave the house? And you DO want to leave the house at some point.

    All you’ve got to do is take B vitamins -- specifically, folic acid, B6, and B12. Studies have shown that they can offset the effects of PM2.5 by as much as 76 percent.

    Take a B-complex supplement and go Paleo, the approach to eating that focuses on vitamin B-rich foods like liver, chicken, nuts, fish, and eggs.

  2. Your heart can stop beating without enough of THIS

    Now that it’s June, I'm sure you’ve been pulling some of those summer picnic recipes out of the pantry and working your magic for some outdoor eating.

    After all, for most of the country – including here in the Northeast – every day without snow and cold is a day to celebrate!

    But many of your favorite summertime foods -- from pasta and potato salads to chips and fruit pies -- are LOADED with carbs that expand your waistline, spike your blood sugar, and put your heart health on the line.

    But according to a new study, swapping those carbo-bombs for nitrate-rich veggies like spinach, beets, and carrots can slash your risk of dying of heart disease before your time.

    That's because nitrate boosts a compound in your body called "nitric oxide" (NO) that's essential for heart health.

    As I've shared with you before, NO relaxes your arteries to allow blood to gush through more freely... and without enough of it, your heart can literally stop dead in its tracks.

    In the study, Case Western Reserve University researchers genetically altered mice so that NO couldn't attach to receptors in their heart cells.

    And once that access to NO was switched off, the mice developed classic signs of heart failure: Heart rate and pump function flatlined.

    And when the researchers looked at tissue samples from human hearts that had failed, they found that two-thirds of them showed signs of NO deficiency.

    That suggests that without enough NO, your heart simply can't pump properly!

    In fact, the study also found that mainstream heart drugs won't do you a lick of good if you don't have enough NO in your system.

    The science gets a little tricky here… but stick with me.

    Most common heart meds -- like beta blockers -- target protein receptors on the surface of your heart cells.

    These receptors have two pathways: One activates proteins that benefit your heart, while the other activates proteins that can cause harmful side effects.

    And in the study, they found that NO can actually shut down the detrimental pathway, allowing heart drugs to do their job without triggering as many risky side effects.

    Plus, NO benefits much more than your heart. It allows blood to flow to every nook and cranny of your body, slashing your risk of glaucoma... Alzheimer's... and blood clots.

    And guys, it can even help you perform better in the "moment."

    So, now that summer's kicking off, pile your salads high with refreshing nitrate-rich veggies like lettuce, arugula, celery, and fennel .

    Daily exercise and the vitamin C from citrus fruits can also help bolster NO levels, as can foods like garlic and cocoa and supplements like citrulline and arginine, among others.

  3. Fish gets the green light for heart health

    From dads and grads... to brides and grooms... June is a month full of celebrations. And no matter how you're celebrating the special people in your life this month, you want to be able to do so for years to come. Translation: You want your heart to keep on ticking! Heart disease is the top killer in America for both...
  4. Diabetic? Don't toss out the eggs

    When you've got diabetes, the most important meal of the day can be the hardest one to figure out. You know that the grains and sugars in typical breakfast foods -- from cereal to doughnuts and pancakes -- will spike your blood sugar and set you up for a crash later on. And you may be equally afraid to eat...
  5. Are you DRINKING your dessert?

    You drink a glass of OJ at breakfast... crack open a can of soda at lunch... and grab a fancy coffee drink mid-afternoon. Before you even get to dinner, you've already guzzled a whole meal's worth of calories -- in liquid form! And faster than you can say Jack Robinson, you could drink more sugar than you'd eat in a...
  6. Maintaining heart health can be a walk in the park

    It seems like every time you turn around, there's a new fitness craze that promises to get you into the best shape of your life. From Zumba dance routines... to "goat yoga" (yep, that's a thing)... the latest fitness trends just seem to get wackier and wackier! And while I applaud you if you want to give one of these...
  7. A heart-stopping warning from the FDA

    When you've got a nasty bacterial infection, all you can think about is getting those bad bugs OUT of your body. And if you take an antibiotic, chances are good that you can wipe those critters out in a matter of days. But while your initial infection may be over and done, taking antibiotics could open a Pandora's box of...
  8. Vitamin D repairs heart damage

    For heart health, let the sunshine in Call it Old Faithful. Vitamin D has been working its healing powers ever since the first rays of light came out of the sun. And with all we already know that D can do, it's clear that we've only begun to scratch the surface. This morning, I shared with you how folks who...
  9. Nuts lower the risk of heart disease

    For heart health, break out the nutcracker It's hard to believe that we're almost at the end of another year. That means we're subject to a glut of end-of-year recaps and countdowns -- and when it comes to a tally of America's most deadly illnesses, heart disease will most likely top the list. AGAIN. It's been the number one killer...
  10. Late-night eating ups your risk of heart disease

    Midnight munchies could threaten your ticker When you're up past your bedtime... or you've woken up in the middle of the night... there's nothing more alluring than a trip to the fridge. Sometimes it doesn't even matter what you find in there -- because once that door opens and that little light inside turns on, the grazing begins. But according...

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